ORANGE, YELLOW, AND PAINFULLY BLUE

As we were having dinner at our Christian homeschooling groups back to school bash, a tiny toddler across from me at the picnic table suddenly pointed to a nearby tree, its leaves showing signs of the inevitable changes that were soon coming, “Mommy, Mommy, that tree!” she shouted, her Mother taking  a quick glance, turning back to her child she softly replied, “Yes, honey, it’s getting fall.”
In my heart, I thought “in more ways than one”, the air starting to shift and the trees now gracefully giving over to their seasonal death in a brilliant display of colors and hues, as if to say I have saved my best for last and will be more beautiful in my dying than my living.
So many of us in this funny little mid-life age group have suddenly been faced with the autumn of our lives and as we often tend not to think of ourselves in years but rather seasons. And I being the victim of a certain type of memory tend to just be and something said or done or entire conversations and seemingly unimportant details can be brought back with crystal clarity and then it dawns on me that was thirty or forty years ago.
PARENTAL MORTALITY. There I said it and have wrestled with it since the death of my brother, we planned to always be there for Mom and Dad and sit around in our nineties in our rockers retelling the tale of the blizzard of ’09.
But as that story came to an end and my generation of our family seeming to bear an astronomical genetic probability to developing cancer, having six first cousins also that died from it, like my brother, before even hitting fifty, but I also have two who won the battle. But somewhere in the back of all our minds it does make one question their own mortality. But as with all of creation, seasons change.
The new change began when my parents, whose home once buzzed with family, laughter and extremely rambunctious children, became more quite with each passing year.

Grandchildren growing up and starting their own lives, other family members just simply growing distant, far too busy pursing their own desires to take time to enjoy what is now becoming more and more precious with each passing moment.
My Dad who is now eighty-one has started to slow done a bit and has asked me on more than one occasion, “Wonder why ___ won’t come visit?” As his child this hurts more than words can express and my flesh wants to just scream because they are self-centered but from my mouth comes no answer.
My Mom who had always been the family rock, at seventy-eight has started to walk a little slower and losing two of her children has been a very heavy burden, I know if the Lord did not help her carry it she would break under the weight.
As I have watched all this come to pass, I say in my heart,”You both have to live forever, you are you and you are strong, you are invincible.”
Anyone else going through this? You watch more and more family members just fade away? I have seen it more than once, I had a wonderful friend from church, she passed away at eighty-three in 2008, we became close after her husband passed away and we talked almost everyday on the phone, one day she asked if knew what she did on Sunday’s, I told her No and she went on to tell me that Sunday had been her and her husband day to get out together, and after he passed no one came to visit her and she sat there and cried all day until church time. This lady had five children plus grandchildren, but they were all just “too busy” for her.
So we worry and worry and the Lord said for us to be anxious for nothing because tomorrow will give thought for itself.
We only have one option, the best option, just believe and trust God and be there for them,(remembering also the seniors God has allowed us to cross paths with because love doesn’t have to be blood family) all the while knowing that once autumn has passed and gives way to the cold, bitter howl of winter winds and there will be days that the hard ice and snow cuts against our skin, causing the pain to be almost unbearable and that the near white out conditions will make us, at times, almost snow blind to see the Lord’s hand in all things.
Rest assured as the blizzard slows and the winds cease, it will give way to the peaceful moonlight reflected from snow-covered mountains now majestic under a dazzling covering of frozen glitter straight from heaven, while earth shimmers in its glow.
“Surely I have behaved (calmed) and quieted myself, as a child weaned of his mother.” Psalm 131:2
We will never be strong enough, but God is, and as those changes come, just hold on, keep our eyes focused on spring, when all things will be made new and eternal.
“My beloved spake, and said unto me RISE UP, my love, my fair one and come away.
For lo, WINTER is passed, thee rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on earth; the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (doves) is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. ARISE, my love, my fair one, and COME AWAY.” Song of Solomon 2:10-13
Called up out of the grave or taken in holy union in the sky, either way, SPRING IS COMING for us all. And our God will be the gentle hand to lead us through even the most trying of seasonal changes.

Nina BrownJohnson/ Baresoulphlogizo  2015 all rights reserved
Φλογίζω / original post: 09/12/2014 Avenue/FOWC

PSALM 23 HOPE IN THE VALLEY

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” He is our high tower, our fortress and our song, and strength.
He is our beginning, our ending and the author and finisher of our faith, the lifter of our heads and the restorer of our souls.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Rest for our weary souls and peace from this world and the troubles thereof, giving us rest from our burdens to feed in the green fields and grassy meadows of his holy garden to nurture us, grow us, and revive us.
His voice we know and a stranger we would never follow. Leading us gently by the soft flow of his rivers, the storms calmed by his hand, where we may drink and be filled and never thirst again, taking some in hope that it will may from us to others who have also become parched.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.” Transforming the tangled, tattered messes of our lives into oneness with him.
He carefully re-fires all the broken pieces into a new vessel.
Gently leading us as his children, in the ways of holiness, teaching us the way our feet should go that we may bring honor to his name.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for though art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
That ever looming shadow that we all live under, this life
is the shadow of the valley of death, this life and the ever awareness of it’s preciousness, his right hand embracing us, his left hand lifting up our heads in defiance to those who would have us shamed.
His rod to chase our enemies away and his staff to gently pull us back when we get a little too close to those ledges.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF JEHOVAH GOD, OUR CREATOR, ever walking by our side, never to leave us or forsake us.  His title of JEHOVAH-NISSI is his war banner and it waves over us and his banner is love.
And in this we take comfort, even in the shadow of death,
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Full assurance that in come what may, the gates of hell will never, ever prevail.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Jesus loves to do this, just when the enemy thinks he has one of God’s children, God laughs as if to say “I don’t think so..” when we feel completely surrounded and that all hope seems lost, that is when God comes shining through,
as praise to his holy name, a name which is above every name in heaven and in earth, the only name by which men are saved, as praise comes, his very name becomes as a healing ointment poured forth, he anoints our heads with fresh oil, a renewing in our spirit and minds and we feast on fruits from his table and the enemy watches, forbidden by the Lord to interfere, as our cup of joy is overran.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
His ways are before us and his mercy, kindness, and protection follow us, and we will live and reign forever with him in his kingdom, world without end!
The most powerful force in the universe, the word of God, let your soul rest in him and in his promises and he will lead you through the low valleys, over the rough mountains and help you fight the giants, even when it is so dark you can barely see what it is that you fight, and lead you into his presence.
“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken unto thy voice: cause me to hear it. Make haste, my beloved….”

08/10/2015: *** AUTHORS NOTE: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOU ARE VIEWING THIS ON ANY SITE OTHER THAN MY PERSONAL SITE IT HAS BEEN REPUBLISHED WITHOUT MY PERMISSION! FINAL WORD, JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NEVER PREVAIL AND ONLY A FOOL SAYS IN HIS HEART THAT THERE IS NO GOD!

Original Post: 08/15/2014 with a special nod to my friend who is fighting a battle.  All rights reserved. Rev. Nina BrownJohnson 2015

ASHES

Ashes, sometimes all that is all that is left of what once was your life all that was held precious and dear, all that is left of what once was and most importantly what will be never again.
Maybe you feel that way today, maybe you have wounds that are so deep, wounds that are as a festering infection, hurting and oozing. 

You try your best to dress them but to no avail, you are putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound that need surgical repair, performed by the only one who specializes in surgery of the soul.
Wounds hidden under the ashes that have built up by troubles of life each time, a little of the fire in your soul have been smothered out.
Ashes of abuse suffered in childhood.

Ashes of having your innocence stolen away, the enemy maybe even convincing you somewhere along the way that this was actually your fault.
Ashes of your Prince Charming transforming into the absolute Prince of Darkness. Ashes of bad decisions made in haste, just to kill the pain a little.

Ashes of unplanned pregnancy ending in a regretted abortion, because others convinced you to take the easy way out.

Ashes of losing a loved one much to soon. All the ashes of your life.
Maybe you asked yourself, If He is real why does He let these things happen?

it just you? Does He only care for a select, perfect, chosen few?
Maybe you have reached out to a “believer” their response to you only worsening your feeling of worthlessness and shame.

Tell you a little secret about that, “all that glitters is not gold”. Jesus said we would know a tree by the fruit it bears, so no matter how much a person professes Christ, if they mistreat you, that lets you know something is not right within them and if left unrepentant, they will be numbered with those that will hear Him say “Depart from me, I never knew you”.

But please don’t base who you believe Him to be on anyone that is why He warns us of these people, to beware of them and their poison. Discover him for yourself, work out your own salvation with fear (respect) and trembling(seriousness).

God only requires that we repent, keep His commandments and do our best each day, our reasonable service and some days we may not do so good but his mercy is renewed every single day, he doesn’t expect you to be perfect, the bible translation of the word is blameless.

No one is perfect, and if we were why would we have needed a Savior?
The truth is that He wants you just as you are, He rewards those who diligently seek Him. He knows every mistake you have ever made, and more importantly He has seen every tear that you have cried and each one is precious to Him.
He is timeless, there is no damage so old that He can’t heal it.
He is a father that never drinks, doesn’t do drugs, never hits or yells and when you need to feel safe and secure he will protect you and hide you under the shadow of his wings.
Maybe you even feel like there is not much left to save, you believe in God and you’ve prayed the salvation prayer and still feel no different, you feel like you’re praying to someone out in the middle of the universe and He is so far away that He just can’t hear you.

But I promise, He does and if you will just scoop up all those ashes and take them to Him and just say, I really don’t want these anymore, I promise you in exchange He will give you beauty, joy unspeakable, peace that washes over you and a love unlike anything you have ever known.

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for their ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called  the tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:8

He wants you to have His beauty, that your joy in Him will be full, to clothe you with the beautiful robe of His righteousness and give you a song in your heart that will see you through even the darkest night.

The deeper the root the harder it is to get it out of the ground. Jesus said some things only go by fasting and prayer so please let me make a few suggestions.

Pray: But not a “chanty” prayer, talk to Him just as you would face to face.

He will never tell anyone else your secrets and He will never remind you of your mistakes.
And if you have to cry it all, well he understands that language too. You may not know what exactly your problem is, but He does, remember, He does.

Be yourself with Him, don’t focus on what you have been falsely taught that you need to be, focus on Him. We all stumble but He is right, ready to help us up, dust us off and encourage to try it again. He loved you enough to die an unbelievably brutal death on the cross, what more could he say to convince you?

Fast: Of course, food is usually the first choice but it does not have to be, just decide what you want to surrender and for how long and dedicate that time to Him, avoid negative people and surround yourself with uplifting music and join a good Christian website, Charles Stanley, Brian Houston Hill Song, and Joseph Prince are very encouraging.

That doesn’t mean I agree with everything they believe but I do know you have to be very careful of doctrines. God will send us messages when we need them but we must be “tuned in” to hear them. Watch only wholesome programs during this time, David Phelps has a song “Just as I am” that also would offer you some hope that you are not alone.

Finally, keep at it, I’m not telling you that your life will be perfect, far from it, and that once those wounds have been dressed and healed by the Lord that the scar tissue is never gonna hurt, there will also probably even be a giant or two along the way that will have to be slain.
But I am promising you that once the breath of God blows upon those ashes, their scattering revealing a small, yet still flickering flame, the fresh air causing it to ignite in you a fire of the glory of God burning so bright through you that you will never, ever be the same.

Once the Holy Ghost has mounted you up on wings as an eagle you will fly so high above that scattered mess only pausing long enough to ask Him if he is sure that the gray mass below really once had been you, His confirmation that yes, you truly have been freed, and then you will laugh with joy unspeakable and you will continue to fly until we meet in the hereafter.
Originally Posted: 05/28/14

All Rights Reserved. Reverend Nina BrownJohnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015